Michigan State University
Michigan State University
English Language Center
Learning Symposium

Reading in the 21st Century

March 19, 2016 | Michigan State University 


Keynote Presentations



Training Strategic Readers or Teaching Reading Strategies—Does the Difference Matter? 

Fredericka Stoller | Professor of English, Northern Arizona University

Effective reading-strategy use is one of the hallmarks of skilled readers (Almasi & Fullerton, 2012; Grabe, 2009). Good readers routinely use combinations of strategies that (a) support comprehension, (b) assist them in tackling challenging texts, (c) allow them to use information from texts for various academic tasks, and (d) enable extended periods of reading with high levels of comprehension. Students who are not strategic readers find it challenging, if not impossible, to excel in their academic work. So, what should we do? Should we make a curriculum-wide commitment to strategic-reader training or reading-strategy instruction so that students have a chance at attaining their academic goals? How can we help students understand when, how, and why to use combinations of strategies to improve their reading comprehension and to overcome comprehension difficulties? In this presentation, we will consider the range of strategies used by strategic readers. Participants will take part in a simulation that showcases strategic-reader training techniques. These techniques can be adapted by instructors and materials writers for improved reading instruction and reading outcomes.



Exploring the World with National Geographic Archaeologist Fred Hiebert

Frederik Hiebert | Archaeology Fellow, National Geographic Society

Imagine actually walking into the pages of National Geographic, fedora and bullwhip in hand. Many of Fred Hiebert's projects over the past 12 years – from finding a submerged medieval palace of Tamerlane in Central Asia to riding horseback in Mongolia in search of Genghis Khan's tomb – have ended up in those pages, on the National Geographic Channel, or in the new National Geographic Learning textbooks. Find out how Fred, who is originally from Traverse City, went from going to high school in snowshoes to traveling the globe for National Geographic.




Concurrent Session Presentations



Implementing Reading Response Journals

Jeff Smith | Ohio Northern University

Reading response journals improve textual comprehension exemplified in academic reading-based writing tasks in university first-year composition courses. The presentation addresses the resulting interactions of background knowledge, metacognitive strategies and communicative language teaching. Participants collaboratively analyze and compare several examples and models before outlining a personalized plan for implementation.


king.jpgLearning to Love Your Students' Smartphones: How Mobile Apps Can Breathe New Life into Your Reading Class

Courtney King | Central Michigan University

In this hands-on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) presentation participants learn how mobile apps can make reading instruction more engaging for 21st century learners. Using the mobile technology that students already bring to the classroom, we can present material, assess understanding, and gauge interest all within easy-to-use apps.



Sustainable Reading Education: Connecting Students, Teachers, Subjects and Community

Koen Van Gorp | Michigan State University / CeLTA

Teachers have to engage students' 21st century reading skills in a sustainable way. By using authentic, challenging tasks that enable connections between language skills, the curriculum and the outside world, they build up successful reading experiences and help to keep students' learning-energy invested in reading development.



The Giving Tree – Stories as Tools for Second Language Acquisition

Peter B. Hoffman | Michigan State University

Stories are an essential part of the human experience, yet many teachers are unsure whether (or how) to use stories in their classrooms. In this highly-interactive session, teachers take on the role of learners, encountering a classic story from the students' perspective to discover opportunities and options for themselves.




Tools for Fostering Critical Reading

Cynthia Macknish & Haley Gardner | Eastern Michigan University

In this presentation we describe the extent to which our university ESL students read texts critically and the tools we use to cultivate our students' critical stance. Opportunities will be provided for participants to engage with these tools, provide feedback, and discuss challenges and adaptations for their specific contexts.



"Good Writers are Good Readers": Examining the Role of Reading in L2 Academic Writing Courses

Zuzana Tomaš & Trisha Dowling | Eastern Michigan University

Reading instruction is often pushed to the periphery in academic writing courses. This presentation examines the central role of reading in writing classrooms, arguing that a principled focus on reading leads to improved academic (source-based) writing. The presenters will share innovative materials and activities to support reading-focused writing instruction.



Poster Session Presentations



Two Online Tools to Empower Teachers and Promote Reading Power

Katherine Barrett & Danielle Petersen | Central Michigan University

In this session, presenters show ESL instructors two free web-based tools (LexTutor and Readability) to help them measure the difficulty level of reading materials selected for students. The presenters highlight three different levels (ESL intermediate, EAP advanced, and first year college-level) of texts and discuss their implications for reading instruction.



Reading Strategies via Infographics

Jolene Jaquays & Melojeane Zawilinski | University of Michigan - Flint

Infographics improve learning and data comprehension and can be implemented at all stages of the reading process. The critical thinking process required to interpret infographics involves analyzing, interpreting, making inferences, and identifying trends and patterns. This poster session demonstrates the pedagogical benefits of integrating infographics into the academic reading classroom.


mann.jpgUsing Book Clubs to Promote Motivation and Comprehension in ESL Reading

Ana Mann | Ball State University

The presenter illustrates the benefits and examples of engaged reading done through book club activities in an intermediate ESL setting. While explaining the theory behind such type of reading, the presenter demonstrates the various formats, applications, and media, which could be used in the implementation of a book club reading model.